Plant of the Month: November 23

This year we are asking our followers to ensure their gardens can help bee populations thrive – encouraging both diverse plant life and a variety of bee species to visit. With 25 species of bumblebee and more than 250 species of solitary bee, there are many bees that can be encouraged into your garden if you choose your plants carefully.

The Royal Horticultural Society has helped us look beyond summer favourites such as lavender and borage. Longer autumns and milder winters mean that bees such as the buff-tailed bumblebee can be active all year round. They need garden plants to help them through.

So, without further ado, November’s plant is the Winter-flowering honeysuckle (Lonicera x purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’ agm.

This medium-sized semi-evergreen shrub is at its prime now, smothered in long-lasting, sweetly fragrant blooms. The two-lipped flowers with protruding stamens are accessible to most bees including the common carder bumblebee (Bombus pascuorum), which can be active into November.

Others to try include:
•Sweet box (Sarcococca confuse agm)
• Fatsia japonica agm
• Elaeagnus x submacrophylla agm
• Autumn-flowering crocus (Crocus speciosus agm)